Game Grades: Northwestern

posted January 21, 2018 in CommRadio, Sports by By Christopher Keating

The Penn State Men’s Basketball team went on the road to face a tough senior-led Northwestern team. The Nittany Lions welcomed the Wildcats to the Bryce Jordan Center just 15 days ago, which ended in a 78-63 win.

The game in Evanston had the opposite outcome in a matchup where Penn State head coach Pat Chambers and his team struggled for most of the second half and the Wildcats were just too much.

Offense:  C-

The Nittany Lions were only able to score 61 points, when earlier this month they posted 78 in the home fixture against the Wildcats. This game came down to the “tale of two halves” phrase. The Nittany Lions were hot in the first half as they saw themselves shoot 68.2 percent, which is one of their best shooting performances of the season. However, the second half was a whole different story. After a Lamar Stevens field goal at the 10:37 mark, the Nittany Lions went the rest of the half without a field goal. Only six points were scored after that 10:37 mark and they all came from the charity stripe.

Even with the cold second half, the Nittany Lions still shot above 50 percent to help earn a grade of C-.
The only individual spark came from senior guard Shep Garner. Garner posted 22 points while shooting 6 of 11 from beyond the arc. Aside from Garner, no other Nittany Lions pop off the box score sheets. Collectively, it was a poor day at the office for the offense.

Defense: C

The defensive production in this fixture was sporadic. At times, it looked like the Nittany Lions would put in a solid defensive effort for 40 minutes but then on certain possessions there was lackadaisical defense and a lack of communication.

The defense was stellar leading up to the end of the first half where the Wildcats were allowed to claw back into the game and decrease the deficit to two before the half.

The Nittany Lions only allowed the Wildcats to shoot just above 40 percent for the game but the real issue came down to a lack of hustle and presenting the opposition with too many second chances. Northwestern had a 17-4 point advantage when it came to second chance points which helped seal the deal and pick up a BIG 10 win.

Coaching: C-

This is a very disappointing result for Chamber’s squad. It seems his team move to a record of 3-5 in conference play. Chambers seemed to lose his team shortly after their last made field goal. Players began to get down on themselves and were visibly frustrated which most likely had an effect on the rest of the game.

Chambers and his coaching staff need to find a solution to help turn things around, otherwise it will be another disappointing season for the Nittany Lions.

Christopher Keating is a Junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email